Each year, many people travel to the Caribbean via yacht to take part in annual races or simply enjoy the winter sailing season.
Party boats are a popular way for Belize's visitors to get out on the water for a few hours of fun without being in charge of the boat. Booze and dinner cruises usually take place on a party boat, but what many visitors don't realize is that party boats can be rented for private parties as well. Weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, and product launches are all made more exciting when they are hosted on a party boat. These vessels vary in size, but can typically carry between 30 and 300 guests, there is usually a dance floor and either a DJ or live music, and food and beverages round out the amenities.
If you want to experience some time on the open water, without the complications and cost involved with renting a boat you can take an excursion. Curious how long you'll spend on the water and what's included? See the table that follows to obtain contact phone numbers for area day sailing companies.
|Belize Sailing Charters||(501) 523-3138||Main Street - 0.2 mi. (0.3 km) South West of Placencia||Belize|
|Blackhawk Sailing Tours||(501) 607-0323||Front Street - Caye Caulker||Caye Caulker|
|Blue Tang Tours||(507) 519-6000||Blue Tang Inn - San Pedro||Ambergris Caye|
|Cari'Bean Tours||(501) 601-8586||Coconut Drive - San Pedro||Ambergris Caye|
|El Gato||(501) 226-2264||San Pedro||Ambergris Caye|
|Raggamuffin Tours||(501) 226-0348||Front Street - Caye Caulker||Caye Caulker|
|Reef Runner||(501) 226-2172||San Pedro||Ambergris Caye|
|Sea Hawk Sailing Trips||(501) 607-0323||Caye Caulker||Caye Caulker|
|Tanisha Tours||(501) 226-2314||San Pedro||Ambergris Caye|
|The Moorings||--||0.9 mi. (1.4 km) South of Placencia||Belize|
Charter companies in the Caribbean come in all sizes. Larger companies are recommended for your first charter because there are fewer guarantees with the smaller companies. For example, if the boat you had requested becomes unavailable, smaller companies may not have other boats for replacement. On the other hand, in the same situation, larger companies will most likely give you a similar or larger boat at no extra cost. Many of the better smaller companies, however, purposefully stay small in order to provide better customer service.
There are two "tiers" of charter companies, but these are not quality or service designations. First tier companies use the newest boats, often with the most extras. Boats older than four or five years are no longer used by first tier companies. First tier boats may have the auto pilot function, GPS systems, stereos, and cell phones; check with the specific charter company for details. Second tier companies usually use older boats from the fleets of first tier companies. These second tier boats come with fewer extras and lower price tags.
If you're thinking about a boat charter, you can contact one of these area companies:
|Aubisque Catamaran Yacht Charters||(501) 664-5300||Cucumber Beach Marina - 4.6 mi. (7.5 km) West-Southwest of Belize City||Belize|
|Requena's Water Taxis||(501) 722-2070||12 Front Street - Punta Gorda||Belize|
|TMM Yacht Charters||(501) 226-3026||Coconut Drive - San Pedro||Ambergris Caye|
|Utopia Adventures||(501) 666-7157||Sittee River Marina - 10.4 mi. (16.8 km) South of Dangriga||Belize|
|(501) 226-2427||San Pedro||Ambergris Caye|
When selecting a crewed charter, make sure that you're compatible with the crew. The best way to find the right crew for you is through a broker. Yacht brokers act similarly to travel agents, and they can often provide quotes from several different chartering companies. The boat owner pays for the broker's services, so you can utilize their help at no cost. Brokers can also help you find a bareboat charter.
There are two main charter broker trade organizations: the American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA) and Charter Yacht Broker's Association (CYBA). Members of the AYCA and/or the CYBA include the following outfits:
In the Caribbean:
|Charter Broker||Telephone Number|
|Crewed Charters (U.S. Virgin Islands)||800-874-2584|
|Nicholson Yachts Worldwide (Antigua)||800-662-6066
|Paradise Connections (U.S. Virgin Islands)||877-567-9350
|Regency Yacht Vacations (U.S. Virgin Islands)||800-524-7676
|Stewart Yacht Charters (U.S. Virgin Islands)||800-432-6118|
|Yates Yachts (U.S. Virgin Islands)||866-994-7245
|Charter Broker||Telephone Number|
|Broward Yacht Sales Charter Division||954-763-8201|
|Fraser Yachts Worldwide||954-463-0640|
|June Montagne Yacht Charters||954-217-2992|
|Marine Group of Palm Beach, Inc.||561-627-9500|
|Nicely-Dunn Yacht Charters||800-874-0724
|Paradise Yacht Charters||954-462-0091|
|Rikki Davis, Inc.||954-761-3237|
|RNR Yacht Charters||800-525-2526
|Tom Collins Yachts Worldwide||800-637-5407|
|Whitney Yacht Charters, Inc.||800-223-1426|
Renting a yacht for a few hours of sailing is as much as possibility in Belize as charting a boat to sail there. Day rentals are ideal for exploring quiet cays and stopping for a dip on a private beach, fishing, and participating in water sports.
There are a few types of boats commonly used for day rentals:
Warm waters, calm waters, beautiful scenery, and easy accessibility. What's not to love about sailing in Belize? Find your perfect choice in charter yachts, and the adventure of your life can begin.
|(501) 206-2059||San Pedro||Ambergris Caye|
Yachts are usually chartered from within or near the Caribbean on a weekly basis. Your yacht rental options are bareboat, skippered bareboat, or crewed charter.
If you're an experienced sailor, you may decide to charter a bareboat - a rental boat with all the equipment needed to travel the Caribbean, but with no crew. If you wish to rent a bareboat, you will need to prove your qualifications, and you may receive a tutorial of the Caribbean area including reefs and safe harbors. At times, the owner will insist on accompanying you on your journey, while still giving you full control of the vessel. This is called a voyage charter. If you sail a bareboat alone, it is called a demise charter.
Based on your knowledge and experience, the charter company may insist that you take a skipper for at least the first few days of your journey. If the company requires that you travel with a skipper, the cost of the skipper's services are your responsibility. If you're not quite ready to set sail on your own, go with a skippered bareboat. A skipper lends his sailing knowledge and expertise to your Caribbean journey and is paid by the day.
Crewed charter yachts come with a skipper and full crew including a cook. On a crewed charter, the captain is the one who calls the shots. You will decide on the itinerary, but if weather or any other obstacle threatens this schedule, the captain will alter the route for safety purposes.
If you are traveling in a large group of knowledgeable sailors, you may consider to take your adventure to the next level by flotilla sailing. Flotilla sailing is when three or more boats sail the same course together. Someone who knows the area well is usually hired to captain the lead boat, while those traveling with you will be in charge of the other boats.
On top of deciding which type of charter you'll be hiring, you will also have to choose the type of boat you would like to sail. Yachts and catamarans are two of the options available.
A yacht is a luxury craft made up of a single hull. It can be as small as 20 feet long or as big as hundreds of feet long. Different sizes and styles of yachts have different names, including dingies (small yachts perfect for day trips), pocket yachts (mid-sized boats that are good for weekend trips), and cruisers (large yachts which can withstand days long trips).
While a yacht has one hull, catamarans have two, which gives it a vary stable ride.. One mast will fly one or two sails depending upon the size of the vessel, and catamarans are known to be fast and easy to maneuver.
On most charters you may choose between having the food provided by the charter company for an additional fee or buying it yourself before you set sail. Buying your own food may be a difficult task if you are departing from a small island. Remember that you will be responsible for feeding everyone on board, including the skipper and/or crew.
You can enter Belize through four different ports: Belize City, Caye Caulker, Punta Gorda, and San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. It is easier to enter at ports that have their own facilities, otherwise you will need to pay an extra charge for officials to reach your boat, in addition to customs fees. Entering at Caye Caulker requires the transport of officials from Belize City.
When entering or exiting Belizean waters, clear customs, immigration, and quarantine within 24 hours. Officials patrol the waters to ensure that yachters follow these rules. Customs will require four copies of each of the crew lists and store lists, as well as the ship's papers.
Regulations at customs do not allow the passage of fresh produce into Belize. Furthermore, customs officials will generally keep any firearms until the exit of the yacht. Animals must have valid rabies vaccinations before entering the country. Visas cost $25(USD) and yachts are allowed to stay for up to six months. You can extend the visa's duration for an additional $5(USD).
When traveling, remember that there are many regulations about what can be hunted and removed from Belizean waters. There are many protected areas from which you may only remove animals for scientific or educational purposes, and only with a permit. Regulations are strict, so be sure you understand them before sailing to the reef.
Is your plan to travel to Belize using your own vessel, or a boat you charter elsewhere? This next chart contains a list of area marinas.
|(866) 589-4618||San Pedro||Ambergris Caye|
|--||First Avenue - Corozal||Belize|
|(501) 222-4153||4.6 mi. (7.3 km) West-Southwest of Belize City||Belize|
The coast of Belize can vary greatly, and this means that your sailing experience can also vary greatly. As you narrow your final destination, take a look at the local Belize sailing guides that will give you more specific information based on what part of Belize you will be visiting.
|Guide to Ambergris Caye Sailing|
|Guide to Belize City Sailing|
|Guide to Caye Caulker Sailing|
|Guide to Corozal Sailing|
|Guide to Dangriga Sailing|
|Guide to Placencia Sailing|
|Guide to Punta Gorda Sailing|
|Guide to San Pedro Sailing|
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